It was the reigning RallyX Nordic and two-time European Rallycross champion Robin Larsson who took this year’s first victory at the All-Star ‘Magic Weekend’ round 1 after defeating the World Rallycross driver Niclas Grönholm who looked set for the win after a clean sweep of all the previous sessions.
Grönholm who is driving the latest specification Hyundai i20 WRX machinery was dominating in all the qualification runs and also secured a win in his semi-final, he was the man all eyes were on when the ready to race light went on.
Larsson pulled away from the grid with Grönholm closing in after he made a mistake on the start, Larsson kept his head cool while Grönholm pushed hard to pass before the velodrome.
Grönholm continued to follow Larsson as they both went into the joker lap, Johan Kristoffersson who has taken his joker lap earlier slotted in between both of them to take the second place, meanwhile Grönholm had to settle for third.
“That was a really good start with the new car – the Audi worked perfectly the whole day. In the final, I got a great launch and having seen how quick Grönholm was behind me in the semi-final, I just controlled the tempo for the opening laps, making sure to drive carefully on the gravel as it was really slippery.” Larsson said.
“I knew Niclas had used two new tyres for Q3 and we had four new tyres for the final, so we had a good advantage there and I began pushing on lap three. It was a fun day, without any problems and now I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
The 2018 RallyX Nordic champion Oliver Solberg finished in fifth, while Thomas Bryntesson who had a massive spin in Q2 after contact with the barrier and was lucky in his semi-final at the last corner to pass the Supercar debutant Ben-Philip Gundersen who suffered an electric failure at the jump section.
Pontus Tidemand rounded out the results in the last place after he almost lost his place in the final due to a protest from Lukas Walfridson, who was unhappy in the semi-final with a push-to-pass move with Tidemand, but the appeal was denied.
In the Supercar Lites final the luck finally turned around for Simon Olofsson who won a round, Henrik Krogstad decided to go in an early joker which made took him to second place, while Linus Östlund had to settle for third after slotting in behind Jimmie Walfridson which stopped him progressing further up the order until Walfridson took the joker on last lap.
“This is amazing. Honestly, the past few years have been so difficult and racing really wasn’t much fun for me anymore. I wasn’t even planning to drive this season, but then we decided in the end to enter a few races.” Olofsson said.
“I think the extended winter break has really focussed my mind. When I came here for the #RXQuarantine event in May, I had the same feeling as I had in 2016 – it was the first time since then that I’ve sat on the grid genuinely believing I can win. This is such a special weekend and this victory really means a lot to me. We’re back in the game!”
Both of the Supercar Lites newcomers Nils Andersson and Dan Skocdopole finished in fifth and sixth respectively.
The bad luck continued for Jesse Kallio who dominated the two-first qualification runs. In the semi-final, he was leading the pack until another problem struck the Finn at the same time Thomas Holmen also had to retire after trying to pass Kallio, which lead to both of the #YellowSquad drivers Krogstad and Skocdopole to claim the tickets for the final.
Oskar Andersson won the Crosskart/CrossCar final and Alex Gustafsson the CrossCar Junior.
We had some problems in the qualifying races, which meant I had to start right at the back in both the semi-final and final, but our speed was good all day and I just pushed as hard as I could. It was a crazy final and it’s an unbelievable feeling to win – I’m so happy!” Andersson said.
“I could never have imagined this – it’s so magical. I wanted to win so much and gave it everything I had. When I saw the gap open up for the lead, I knew I had to go for it and thankfully, Erik gave me racing room. I thought I had thrown it away in the last corner, but fortunately, I had enough of a margin behind to stay in front.” Gustafsson said.
The racing continues on Friday afternoon with the Legends class and the All-Star ‘Magic Weekend’ round two will be held on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.